Trying to make sense of easyCouncil and Capita?????

Barnet Council entered into two large outsourcing contracts with Capita in 2013. Six years later there has been a serious fraud and the services are not up to standard.

Who is saying this?

The Council both the staff who use Capita services and the staff that commission Capita services.

A year ago the Council announced a large number of services were to be brought back in-house yet a year on only a few have made it across the line.

On Monday 17 June 2019, Barnet Council gave Capita the thumbs up for both contracts.

You can read more about the Capita contracts here on the Barnet UNISON website

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/

Air pollution in London: Living and working in London

Barnet UNISON has a large number of members some of whom work outside for all of their time or a large part of their time in work.

The dangers of air pollution has become increasingly more worrying, numerous reports have produced data that show dangerous levels of toxins in the air.

The Times Newspaper recently published an article entitled:

“London air pollution mapped: how does your child’s school compare?”

(Source: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/london-air-pollution-mapped-how-does-your-childs-school-compare-nqxbbm8nl 9 May 2019)

 “An analysis of 2,000 school sites shows that pupils at every school in the capital are exposed to an annual average higher than 10 micrograms per cubic metre, the level recommended by the World Health Organisation.”

Barnet UNISON downloaded the data and discovered 91 Barnet schools had been exposed to air pollution which exceeded the recommended limits by the World Health Organisation.

You can download the spreadsheet by clicking the link below

Air Quality  

The following are a series of questions that our branch is seeking answers to.

  1. What toxic chemicals are in the air?
  2. What do these toxic chemicals do to our bodies?
  3. What health issues can these toxins cause?
  4. What health checks can be carried out now to test the impact of toxins in the air?
  5. Which NHS service is able to carry out health checks on the impact of air pollution?
  6. Will wearing some type of face mask or other protective equipment help mitigate the impact of air pollution?
  7. Will wearing some type of face mask or other protective equipment be better than no mask at all?
  8. Who is ultimately responsible for air pollution in London?
  9. Should the employer be responsible for carrying out risk assessments for any of their staff exposed to dangerous toxins in the air?
  10. What measures should the employer take to ensure staff do not suffer any ill health problems due to working outside and breathing in toxins in the air?
  11. Should the employer provide staff with some type of face mask or other protective equipment from the toxins in the air?
  12. Should the employer provide some type of health checks for staff regularly exposed to air pollution?

If you have answers to these questions please email the branch on contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

 

Another Capita Pension Service Fail!

The reports on data quality issues with the Capita Pension Administration Service based in Darlington have been many.

I noticed that there is another Data Quality Report submitted for the Pension Fund Committee, on Thursday 30 May 2019

(See here https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s52720/Data%20Quality%20Report.pdf )

It reminded me of the Open Portal web site all members of the Council Pension Scheme had access to before Capita took over.

It was taken down in 2014 with a promise that it would be back up soon.

It’s 24 May 2019 and it is not available and worrying Capita seem to think it was not in the contract to provide such a portal.

Whenever I need to check out the contract there is only one person to contact and that is Barnet Blogger Mr Reasonable I contacted him because I was convinced it must be in the contract and literally five minutes later he sent over the relevant section in the Capita contract.

The specific requirement can be found in the HR Method Statement (which is attached as a PDf document)

Final_HR_Method_Statement_Mar2013_Capita_redacted (1)

Scroll down to Page 30, paragraph (emphasis mine)

 2.8 PENSIONS ADMINISTRATION / OUTPUT SPECIFICATION REF: HR008

“Members will also have access their pension information via the web portal. This on-line service gives the members the facility to perform ‘what-if’ calculations, view and update their personal information including nominees. Benefit statements and other scheme documentation will be available for current and deferred members. Pensioners will have access and be able to view all their payslips and P60s.”

I can’t even begin to explain how useful this would be for members of the Pension Scheme, ironically if this had been implemented it would have saved resources for Capita.

Have I notified the Council?

Yes, I have raised this immediately with the Council.

I have two questions.

  1. When will Barnet Council hold Capita to account and insist the above web portal is put in place immediately?
  2. Why is the Council continuing to accept failure from Capita in particular why is not the Pension Service being brought back in-house.

At this moment of publication Capita are still providing our Pension Service and their Share Price is £1.05 p a share. See below 

Another Capita Failure in Barnet, Payroll this time…………

 

Late Friday afternoon 27 April 2019 Barnet UNISON were contacted to say that Barnet Council staff who had previously opted out of the Council Pension scheme had been enrolled back in.

Whilst Barnet UNISON supports and encourages members to join the Council scheme, workers do have the lawful right to opt out.

Barnet Council must obey the law and in this case this means they must auto enrol workers into the Council Pension Scheme. However, they must give notice to the worker and advise them of their right to opt out.

This did not happen.

What happened?

  1. Members on the Audit Committee were told that Capita Payroll only found out at the last minute (Friday 26 April 2019) that an auto enrolment programme had been set up to auto enrol those workers who had previously opted out of the Council Pension scheme.
  2. Members on the Audit Committee were told that 170 workers were auto enrolled into the Council Pensions Scheme which meant they had pay deducted from their wages.
  3. Members on the Audit Committee were told that although the workers had pay deducted they had not been auto enrolled.
  4. If this is true, it must follow that Capita’s auto enrolment procedure failed. Auto enrolment is directed by legislation. Barnet Council must auto enrol staff every three years, unless staff sign a form to opt out. This incident has exposed another Capita system failure which needs to be addressed immediately.
  5. Members on the Audit Committee were told that the workers contributions which had been deducted would be paid back to the 170 workers on Friday 3 May 2019.
  6. Members on the Audit Committee were not told if employer contributions were paid and if so where did the money go. However, if the employer contributions were not paid, why not? Is this another system failure?

Further Questions

  • Have Capita Payroll in Carlisle auto enrolled Barnet Council school staff?
  • If not, why not, as they are the same employer?
  • Why were Councillors auto enrolled by Capita as Councillors have not been eligible to join since 2014?

Barnet UNISON comment:

You really have to be in a Council meeting to believe what happens. Year after year different Capita managers roll up to give excuses and make promises that the latest service improvement plan will improve the services.

What is unbelievable is that Councillors are still accepting this serial offending.

All the while Capita are raking in the millions from Barnet Council.

We are in Year Six of a Ten Year contract and the two Capita contracts have cost £145 million pound more than they were originally contracted to be paid.

 

ISS Pay roll changes put low paid workers at risk.

Barnet UNISON have been informed that ISS nationally are changing their Payroll process.

This change impacts on all ISS workers not just here in Barnet.

We raised immediate concerns about the hardship this would place on low paid workers.

We were told that loans are being offered with a repayment plan spread of four equal payments.

Barnet UNISON have asked that the option for repayments to be spread over a longer period of time.

Barnet UNISON have sought confirmation that staff are not paying any interest on the loan.

If you work for ISS Catering service in Barnet Council and need advice and or support please contact the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison,.org.uk

BREAKING NEWS… Barnet says Goodbye to Fremantle

Barnet UNISON has just been informed that the Fremantle Trust is to enter into TUPE consultations to hand over the running of its care homes: Meadowside, Apthorp Lodge and Dellfield Court to Your Choice Barnet.

We welcome this transfer as a positive step in the right direction. Your Choice Barnet is 100% owned by the Council which places the running of the homes under greater local accountability. We will do all we can to continue to represent our members who have consistently done their best to deliver support to vulnerable residents, often under difficult circumstances.

We believe there are now real opportunities to address the concerns of staff and residents in a positive and constructive way and look forward to working with Your Choice Barnet to achieve this.

The transfer of staff and services is planned to take place at the beginning of July 2019.

Barnet UNISON has already approached Your Choice Barnet in preparation for formal TUPE transfer meetings which will be looking to take place shortly.

Any members who have any questions please contact the Barnet UNISON branch on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

End.

 

BREAKINGNEWS: No cuts to services for War Memorials and Church yards in Barnet

Barnet UNISON announced last week that our members in Grounds Maintenance had been told they would no longer providing services to a number of War Memorials and Churchyards in Barnet.

See here http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2019/03/28/breakingnews-grounds-maintenance-for-barnet-war-memorials-and-closed-churchyards-ends-1-april-2019/

Once the story broke it seems there has been a ‘change of heart’.

Today, Barnet UNISON have had confirmation that normal services will resume for all of 2019/20.

A big thank you to all who publicly spoke out against the cut it appears to have been helpful.

To those who believe this story was untrue, be careful. Barnet UNISON had very concrete evidence of the cessation of the services.

 

 

Press Release: Barnet UNISON respond to “Worse Choices for People with Disabilities”

Press Release: Barnet UNISON respond to “Worse Choices for People with Disabilities”

https://bit.ly/2FOn6pr

Look at the line E6 on this chart and you may start to understand why disabled activists are going to get extremely angry. Barnet UNISON will support community activists and workers fighting to keep the standards high for people with disabilities.

The struggle and fight for disabled people has always been about “How I can keep in control of my life?”

For a number of years local authorities, including Barnet, have been trying to get people with disabilities out of residential care homes and into a variety of supported living settings. Along the way there have been a number of arguments about whether this is a cost saving exercise (it was always approved if it did save costs) and about whether the quality of support could match that in residential care homes.

Residential care homes always struggled to match their residents’ aspirations to live a “normal life” – to make the kind of choices most of us take for granted, such as when to pop out for a social visit. They now often struggle to match the aspiration of providing quality basic care.

This is the background against which Barnet and other local authorities are looking to save money again, but this time by seeing who they can “persuade” or “encourage” to move into a residential care home. Whichever way it’s looked at, this is about cutting costs and forcing people with disabilities to manage with less, which will limit their aspirations in a way which is wholly unacceptable for the rest of the population.

If there is money to keep ploughing into the pockets of Capita, to keep an extensive and expensive senior officer group running, then there has to be money available to continue offering residents of Barnet a degree of choice and control over how they are supported.

Remember – people with disabilities are any one of us. Most disabled people were not born so, they acquired their disability in later years. What would we choose for ourselves or our parents or our children? This is why we will show solidarity with those campaigning for quality services and defend those providing quality services.

“When I saw the headlines my heart sank. Comrades started contacting me on social media to get our reaction to the very scary proposal outline in the Budget Cuts report which was agreed at Barnet Council meeting on 5 March 2019. I am not surprised this attack on people with disabilities is a direct consequence of the decision of the Council to keep funding the two big Capita contracts. Barnet was contracted to pay Capita £252.2 million by this time however with all the extras they have in fact paid Capita £386.71 that is an extra £134.17 million of taxpayers money. Our branch will be doing our utmost to work with our community to ensure no one is forced into residential care it’s the least we can do. John Burgess, Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.

End.

Notes to Editors

Contact details: John Burgess Barnet UNISON on or 020 8359 2088 or email: john.burgess@barnetunison.org.uk

Background:

Concerns over Barnet Council’s social care plans

https://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/17534511.concerns-over-barnet-councils-social-care-plans/

Tory council set to force disabled people into residential care to cut costs

https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/tory-council-set-to-force-disabled-people-into-residential-care-to-cut-costs/

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